Counter Logic Gaming vs Cloud 9: NA LCS opening day preview

In a rematch of the Summer Playoffs, who will start the 2018 Spring Split with a victory?

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(Photo Credit: Marco Verch)

The last game of the opening day of the NA LCS pits two historic teams against each other in Counter Logic Gaming and Cloud 9. Both teams come into the split making major roster changes looking to improve from their finishes last year. CLG failed to make Worlds last split with a roster that had been together for multiple splits and changes were made due to their disappointing exit. Reignover is a big addition for CLG after their jungle issues last split with OmarGod filling in for Dardoch after the team getting rid of him. Their long-time leader and support Aphromoo left and CLG needed to fill the void, so they brought in Biofrost

After the devastating 3-2 lose to Team WE in the quarterfinals at Worlds, C9 look to make it to Worlds again and go further with their new roster. C9 changed their top half of the map with Licorice and Svenskeren replacing Impact and Contractz.

Match preview

Top lane:

Now that Aphromoo is gone, Darshan is the player who has been on CLG the longest. Last split he was one of the main reasons CLG was as good as they were. Darshan looks to become a strong voice for the lineup since Aphromoo was the shot caller. This could also be a problem because it could take away from him fully focusing on the island up top.

Licorice is coming in as the rookie for the team after his dominating performance in the Challenger Series for eUnited. He replaces Impact who had been their top laner for the past two seasons. For C9 being a world caliber team making Worlds multiple years in a row now, they must see something special in Licorice.

Verdict: Licorice will have a tough time against the experienced Darshan. Darshan will win this matchup. 


Reignover hasn’t been his 2016 Spring Split MVP self for a while since he left Immortals at the end of the 2016 season. His new start at CLG with hopefully be impactful with Darshan being an experienced top laner he can work with. Reignover is known for focusing on the top half of the map when he used play with Huni, and Darshan is one of the best replacements Reignover could’ve hoped for.

Svenskeren is coming off his disappointing exit with TSM in the group stage at Worlds. This is a new chance for him to prove himself after a lot of the criticism towards his worlds performance. Playing with another high tier team with C9, Sven will have a lot of pressure, but he’s certainly played under it before.  

Verdict: Both junglers have a lot to prove, but Reignover has a higher ceiling in his individual performance. Reignover will win this matchup. 

Mid lane:

The once part of the roster that everyone had questions going into each split, Huhi provided people wrong last split with has consistency. Finishing top 2 in kills and assists last split, Huhi looks to be the MVP tier player for CLG. 

Coming off his second place finish in the MVP voting, Jensen looks to continue his dominance in the mid lane. Jensen lead the league in KDA, Kills, and KP last split.

Verdict: This is a matchup of two of the best mid laners the league has to offer. Jensen will earn the edge from his dominating mid lane play last split topping the stats across the board. 

Bot lane:

This will be the first game together for Stixxay and Biofrost, both young players are looking to prove themselves this split since they have always played alongside veterans in the bot lane in Aphromoo and Doublelift. There can be synergy issues between the two due to it being their first game together but time will tell to see how well they can perform under it. Both of these talents have proven themselves in their previous pairings, and seem to share a similar safer play style. 

Sneaky and Smoothie return as the C9 duo again this split and will continue to build on their success together, with both finishing in the top 3 tiers of the NA LCS All-Pro vote in the Summer. Their multiple splits together will help the team throughout this split because of their new additions as C9 will need experienced leaders on the team to step up.

Verdict: Sneaky and Smoothie will edge the advantage this match due to the little time Stixxay and Biofrost have had together. 

Final Verdict

With all matchups considered, this game is going to go Cloud9’s way to start their 2018 with a victory over the team they knocked out of Summer Playoffs, CLG. 

What do you think of this historic matchup? Let us know in the comments below!